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Fraud

How Walmart’s Financial Services Became A Fraud Magnet

Christy Browne was in a panic. The man on the phone said he was from the FBI. He warned her that drug traffickers had obtained her Social Security number and were using it to launder money. He said the FBI needed money to catch them. “They told me not to go to local law enforcement,” Browne testified in court recently about the February 2020 call. The police were watching her and considered her a suspect, the man said. At his direction, Browne, a retired elementary school teacher who lives in upstate New York, bought four $500 Walmart gift cards at her local Walmart. It was 3:15 pm. She took photos of the serial numbers and PINs on the back and texted them to the man on the phone. With that information, the fraudster had access to $2,000.

Squeezed By The Shorts: Time To Ban Short Selling?

Short sellers have made a killing in the recent banking crisis, scalping $14.3 billion from bank stock owners just in March of this year. Short sellers “borrow” stock they don’t own and immediately sell it, driving the price down. Then they buy it back at the lower price, return the stock, and pocket the difference. Bankers say the practice is threatening the stability of the banking system and are calling for a ban on short sales of bank stock. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to decline but is investigating whether the practice constitutes illegal market manipulation intended to deceive investors.

Is The U.S. Fracking Boom Based On Fraud?

In a 2016 interview with Fraud Magazine, former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow explained what he thought made him so successful while at the former energy corporation that's now infamous for financial scandal. “I think my ability to do structured financing, to finance things off-balance sheet and to find ways to manipulate financial statements — there's no nice way to say it. Like I said at the conference, I was good at finding loopholes.”

Did Exxon Mislead Investors About Climate-Related Risks? It’s Now Up To A Judge To Decide.

Lawyers for New York State and ExxonMobil wrapped up a landmark climate fraud trial on Thursday, shaping a tangle of testimony and evidence into competing narratives on whether the oil company misled investors about the risks it faces from climate regulation. Jonathan Zweig, who gave the closing arguments for the New York attorney general's office, described the case as a classic securities fraud trial that happened to be about climate change, which he said "may well be the defining risk for oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil in the coming decades."

Exxon And Oil Sands Go On Trial In New York Climate Fraud Case

NEW YORK, New York — In late 2013, ExxonMobil faced increasing pressure from investors to disclose more about the risks the company faced as governments began limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Of the many costs climate change will impose, oil companies face a particularly acute one: the demand for their product will have to shrink. For years, Exxon had been using something called a proxy cost of carbon to estimate what stricter climate policies might mean for its bottom line.

Is Facebook Committing Massive Fraud? Are Half Its Accounts Fake?

On paper, Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is one of the most successful companies in history. With a market capitalization that peaked at over $600 billion, Facebook has been the envy of blue chip executives, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists since it exploded onto the global stage. Facebook claims to have over 2 billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs), to a large extent determines which media outlets live and die, connects friends and family members across continents, and is nearly its own sovereign nation.

Exxon Loses Bid To Keep Auditor Files Secret In Investigation

By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News - Brushing aside objections by ExxonMobil, New York's highest court has opened the door for state officials to demand that the oil giant's outside auditor immediately turn over records as part of a fraud investigation into the company's positions on climate change. In a one-sentence rebuff, the court refused to hear arguments by Exxon that the advice of the firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), was protected by an auditor-client privilege. The documents in question could provide a candid, and potentially damaging, glimpse into Exxon's private calculations of the business risks posed by climate change and whether its auditors had any concerns about how it disclosed those risks to investors. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been investigating the company for more than two years, said the ruling affirms his position that Exxon and PwC have an obligation to produce the documents subpoenaed last year. "As we've said from the start, Exxon had no legal basis to interfere with PwC's production" of those documents, Schneiderman said in a prepared statement. A lower court had ruled against Exxon, which then appealed. "Our fraud investigation continues to move full speed ahead, despite Exxon's continued strategy of delay," Schneiderman said.

The Fraud & Theft Of Public Private Partnerships

By Gabrielle Gurley for The American Prospect - Public-private partnerships may indeed provide the dollars that fearful politicians are unable to pry from the pockets of their tax-averse constituents. But P3s, as they are known in the infrastructure sector, are more complex than they appear to people who just want to get where they’re going. In a new Economic Policy Institute report, “No Free Bridge,” researcher Hunter Blair shows just why these partnerships are far from a “eureka” moment for America’s infrastructure woes. “The idea that P3s allow infrastructure to be built for free is economic snake oil,” Blair said. P3s do not end up saving taxpayers money, especially when policymakers obscure the true costs and the risks.

Employees Held Protests Outside Wells Fargo Years Ago On Fraud

By Staff of RT - Calling into question why Wells Fargo was only recently fined $185 million for fraudulently opening more than 2 million accounts, the US Senate is now hearing reports that employees and customers blew the whistle on the Wall Street bank’s illegal activity several years ago. After settling with regulators for $185 million over signing up its customers for more than 2 million accounts without their knowledge and subsequently charging them fees, Wells Fargo became the focus of a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Wells Fargo Fined $185M For Fake Accounts; 5,300 Were Fired

By Kevin McCoy for USA Today - Wells Fargo Bank, one of the nation's largest banks, has been hit with $185 million in civil penalties for secretly opening millions of unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts that harmed customers, federal and state officials said Thursday. Employees of Wells Fargo (WFC) boosted sales figures by covertly opening the accounts and funding them by transferring money from customers' authorized accounts without permission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles city officials said.

Fear Of Hackable Elections Show Need For Paper Ballots

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman for Reader Supported News - Finally, the major for-profit media is approaching consensus that it’s easy to hack U.S. political elections. Even candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are raising unprecedented doubts – from very different directions – about the reliability of the upcoming vote count. Ultimately, there is just one solution: universal hand-counted paper ballots, with carefully protected voter registration rolls, and a transparent chain of custody.

Investigation Of Exxon Draws Attention Of 18 Attorneys General

By David Hasemyer And Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News - A new coalition of state attorneys general gave vocal notice to fossil fuel companies on Tuesday that obfuscating the realities of climate change has put ExxonMobil and its peers under the searchlight of a broadening multistate investigation. Announcing an alliance of top state law enforcement officers to press for urgent climate action on multiple legal fronts, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was joined by six of his counterparts, their ranks bolstered by aides from 10 additional states and the District of Columbia.

Revoke ExxonMobil’s Corporate Charter

By Marjorie Cohn for Truthout - More than 50,000 people from around the world came together in Paris in December 2015 to address the single biggest threat to the survival of the natural world - the climate crisis. There is virtual unanimity among scientists that the burning of fossil fuels is causing the warming of the planet, and if critical steps are not taken, a habitable world will cease to exist. But there are entities that stand to lose if alternative sources of energy overtake coal, oil and natural gas. They are huge corporations, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and Texaco.

Bank Crimes Pay: Under The Thumb Of Global Financial Mafiocracy

By Andrew Gavin Marshall for Occupy - On Nov. 13, the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced it was charging 10 individual bankers, working for two separate banks, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, with fraud over their rigging of the Euribor rates. The latest announcement shines the spotlight once again on the scandals and criminal behavior that have come to define the world of global banking. To date, only a handful of the world’s largest banks have been repeatedly investigated, charged, fined or settled in relation to a succession of large financial scams, starting with mortgage fraud and the Libor scandal in 2012, the Euribor scandal and the Forex (foreign exchange) rate rigging.

HSBC Accused Of Fraud, Money Laundering, Forming Criminal Org

A Belgian investigating judge has charged a Swiss private banking branch of HSBC with massive organized fiscal fraud, money laundering and forming a criminal organization to the benefit of over 1,000 wealthy clients that cost the Belgian authorities "hundreds of millions of euros." The prosecutor's office said Monday the accusations against HSBC Private Bank NV/SA are based on its involvement over the years with "wealthy clients, specifically from the Antwerp diamond industry." It said the justice ministry is also looking into possible money laundering. In August, HSBC Holdings PLC said it knew inquiries were ongoing and that the penalties "could be significant." On Monday, it said it had been notified of the formal investigation by the Belgian judge.
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